Thursday, 29 May 2014

Scientific Sins and Other Darwinian Fables

Chimp-based Darwinian morality led to extermination camps. Image courtesy of Dan Lietha, Answers in Genesis.

Joel Kontinen

What does the concept scientific sin bring to mind? Recently, New Scientist reviewed Mark Johnson’s book Morality for Humans: Ethical Understanding from the Perspective of Cognitive Science (University of Chicago Press, 2014). The title of the article – How moral fundamentalism becomes a scientific sin – suggests that this is not a discussion on the merits of traditional morality.

Kate Douglas summarises Johnson’s thesis as follows:

We are moral creatures because we need to be, in order to survive and flourish. Ethical reasoning is a form of problem-solving primarily concerned with situations where our values and interests conflict with those of others. Any social species encounters such situations, so morality is not uniquely human.”

Survival above all.

This is the old Darwinian explanation that has been repeated in popular science magazines time and again. Unfortunately for evolutionists, repetition does not make fiction into fact, regardless of how hard one tries this kind of alchemy.

The book's agenda becomes obvious: “Moral absolutism is immoral in that it shuts down precisely the kind of empirically informed ethical inquiry we most need for our lives."

The problem with this statement is that science is not supposed to know what is moral and what is not. In a naturalistic/ materialistic/ atheistic world, it ought to be neutral about such things. And scientific sin would be an oxymoron.

But neutrality tends to degenerate into something much worse. Just ask the holocaust survivors. The Nazis were able to kill six million Jews because they believed that no one was watching them.

In Nazi Germany, the Waffen-SS embraced a Darwinian view of ethics. As they did not believe in a Lawgiver to whom they would be accountable for their deeds, they killed millions of Jews, Gypsies and others that they thought were not as fit to live as the “Aryans”.

Keep pushing the moral boundaries because there are no absolutes,” Ms. Douglas concludes her review, claiming that morality “is not about Right or Good, simply about Better.”

Better for whom, one might ask. In a dog-eat-dog Darwinian world, all people will ultimately suffer. If we really want to make the world a better place, we should return to the morality that Jesus taught: “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. “ (Matthew 22:37–39, NKJV).


Douglas, Kate. 2014. How moral fundamentalism becomes a scientific sin. New Scientist 2970 (26 May).